For ICC race runners, the only way is up … and up

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 October, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 October, 2013, 3:46am

A Hong Kong landmark is gearing up to host the final round of a world championship. But this sporting venue is not a stadium, racetrack or golf course.

Instead, up to 1,000 runners are expected to head up 2,120 steps of the city's tallest tower, the International Commerce Centre, for the finale of the eight-race 2013 Vertical World Circuit.

The race, the most gruelling in the vertical running calendar, will take place on December 1 and was launched at a ceremony yesterday at the skyscraper's Sky100 observatory deck. It's the first time the annual charity race up the ICC, organised by Sun Hung Kai Properties and the Community Chest, has formed part of the international circuit.

"Eighty-two floors aren't easy, but we want to try and get as many people as we can to run," said race director David Shin. "There are a lot of tall buildings in Hong Kong, so there are no excuses not being able to train."

International Skyrunning Federation vice-president Lauri van Houten said: "Hong Kong has been a well-known commercial centre for many years and, as an icon in the Far East, it is certainly a location worthy of the final."

Runners start on level eight of the ICC and pound their way up 82 storeys to the finish line. Organisers hope to raise up to HK$5 million for youth charities.

The eight-race circuit also visits New York's Empire State Building, Taipei 101 and towers in Beijing, Hanoi and Singapore.

Dr Louie Lobo Hung-tak, an associate professor of physical education at Baptist University, said runners should train for at least a month, focusing on legs and core muscles such as hips, lower back, pelvis and abdomen, to be fit for the race.

Entry is on a first-come-first-served basis and costs HK$300 for individual runners and HK$50,000 for a corporate team.

Register online at